First and foremost, no, this is not about the Bills’ penchant for drafting first round bust.
This is about the new general manager and head coach’s style of drafting, based off of the 2010 NFL draft. Yes, it is a small sample size, but it’s consistency does seem to suggest a trend.
That consistency is that all the players drafted by the Bills in 2010 were seniors. Does that mean that the Bills would not consider drafting a non-senior? I honestly do not know the answer to that.
However, with the mindset that general manager Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey have demonstrated of looking for intelligent, hard-working character players, it stands to reason that seniors would be preferred at the least.
That does seem to cause a slight problem with regards to this year’s draft: Most of the top-end players are juniors. Four of the top defensive playmakers are juniors in cornerback Patrick Peterson of LSU, defensive end DaQuan Bowers of Clemson, defensive tackle Nick Fairley and defensive end Marcell Dareus of Alabama.
All Bills fans know that defensive playmakers are a priority for this team.
I have been advocating for the Bills to buck the small yet insistent trend of drafting nothing but seniors by adding Dareus with the third overall pick. He can play 3-4 defensive end and 4-3 defensive tackle, and he can play the run and the pass very well.
Generating a pass rush without having to blitz would be huge for this team.
However, I would not be surprised to see Nix and Gailey continue to draft seniors. Seniors, for the most part, show that they value the experience and education that they get by staying for their full eligibility.
With the Bills still needing a defensive playmaker and wanting a senior, I could very well see them taking a player they coached at the Senior Bowl.
Linebacker Von Miller, out of Texas A&M, is a premier pass rusher, so that would go a long way to helping the defense improve against the pass. The Bills coaching staff also had him spending a lot of time dropping back into coverage at the Senior Bowl, so if they draft him, it certainly means he showed them he has that ability.
He also did say in an interview with the media that he would find it “a true blessing to go play for the Bills.”
You can find a link to the video and some more analysis at Buffalo Rumblings here.
He certainly is a disruptive force against the pass rush and seems to like working with the Bills coaching staff. If they want a senior defensive playmaker, Von Miller certainly fits the bill (pun intended).
Continuing the trend of seniors and players coached by the Bills at the Senior Bowl is quarterback Christian Ponder. Having spoken to some scouts, including Wes Bunting of National Football Post, Ponder looks healthy after being injured throughout most of his senior campaign.
He certainly performed well at the Senior Bowl, being named MVP in the win over a North team that most scouts said was far more talented than the South team.
I could see the Bills continue to go defense here, but Ponder would be a nice pick to have sit and develop behind current quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Ponder is big, mobile and has a good arm. With time and coaching, he could be a long-term answer for the Bills.